On the WSET course a fortnight ago (how time flies!), I was introduced to the Torrontés grape variety. This aromatic grape, widely grown in Cafayate in the Salta region of Argentina, is renowned for its medium bodied, perfumed and fruity wines and it was, up until then, a variety I had not sampled before.
On the course, tasting (and spitting – boo!) the 2010 Terrazas de los Andes Reserva Unoaked Torrontés was a delight. On the nose it was bursting with tropical flavours of lychee, peach and apricot, with honeyed undertones. It didn’t disappoint on the palate either; dry and aromatic with a medium finish, this would have been an excellent match with Thai food! At £13.99 a bottle, this one was a little pricey, however in Tesco at the weekend, I came across a Torrontés reduced from £8.99 to £6.99 in their Finest range – very reasonable I thought.
Again, I was not disappointed by this wine. Packed full of fruity flavours of ripe green grapes and nectarines, this was the perfect sipping wine on a balmy Autumn(!) evening. There was just one flavour I couldn’t quite put my finger on – a slightly perfumed, but not unpleasant chalky scent filled my nostrils every time I gave it a sniff.
Interestingly, today at work I came across a review of this wine in David Williams’ Wines of the Week column in the Observer. While I wouldn’t say the aromas of this wine are as overpowering as he puts across, he did sum it up pretty well for me…
‘There’s always a touch of the Boot’s perfume counter about the white wines made from Argentina’s signature Torrontés grape variety, and this wine is no exception; its musky and scented with floral, talcum-like notes. But it’s also pleasingly grapefruit-zesty on the palate, making it a nice fit with mildly spicy, aromatic southeast Asian food.’
I would definitely recommend Torrontés as a grape choice if you fancy trying something a bit different. Far flung from the full bodied, gooseberry flavours of a Sauvignon Blanc, for me, this variety shares many of its characteristics with the Gewürztraminer grape.
I have to say, its rapidly becoming one of my favourites.